Entries in Atari (4)

Freddi Fish Finds the iPad, Brings Adventure

Made in the traditional adventure game vein of explore scenes, collect objects and solve puzzles, Freddi Fish and the Stolen Shell published by Atari, is the iOS version of the original point-and-click game from Humongous Entertainment, launched for the Mac/PC back in 1998.

Don't let the age of this game put you off though, this is still a fun and creative children's game ready to delight a new generation of young adventurers (and their Parents).

Here's a short trailer:

We really enjoyed this title in our house and it is a big favourite at the moment. Each night before bed we hear the cry "Can I do more Freddi Fish?".

It's all about the gameplay

What stands out in this game for us is the gameplay. Puzzles are mostly challenging enough to keep young ones interested without being too difficult (although we have had to help out a few times).  Another very nice touch is that new characters and situations pop up each time the game is replayed.

The colourful, old school, cartoon animation is very appealing and the hidden interactive elements on every page encourage your little ones to explore the screen to see what they can find.

Who dunnit?

Clues as to who stole the 'Great Conch Shell' are left all over the place and each character that Freddi Fish and her sidekick meet have something to say about the night the Conch was stolen.

The idea, of course, is that each encounter and puzzle solved leads our little adventurers a bit further along the path to discovering the thief amongst the characters.

Special elements

Our iPC kids loved Rosy Pearl's Luau Show, one of several little bonus areas that form part of the story. 

They enjoyed getting creative and making tunes on the circus style organ and create their own versions of characters in the 'Crook Book'.

Even after a week or so of playing the game there is still much to be discovered and it is great to know that the next time it is played elements of the storyline, situations and even some characters will be different.

At $2.99 (£1.99) Freddi Fish and the Stolen Shell is fantastic value and we think that if you download this app just before setting out on a journey with your kids you won't hear from them until long after you get there (although we can't promise this will work).

App Store Link: Freddi Fish and the Stolen Shell

Video: Breakout for iOS Teaser

If you spent many hours of your youth bashing a load of multi-coloured bricks with a ball in Breakout or additionally shooting them with lasers in one of its more notable clones like Arkanoid, then you might enjoy this new one from Atari.

The teaser trailer below shows the iPad version, but we're a bit puzzled as to why they haven't used the whole width of the iPad's screen. It looks a little cramped to us. Perhaps the gameplay benefits from a smaller area to swipe across?

As long as it is not overpriced we'll probably be downloading Breakout for iOS when it's released anyway for pure nostalgia. What do you think?

iCade: Pre-order and Pricing Details

We told you about it back in January, and now it is nearly time for us retro-geeks-of-a-certain-age to have a dream realised.

The iCade from ION is finally in production and should be available in late May, compatible with both the original iPad and iPad 2.

In the US, ThinkGeek have started taking pre-orders at the expected price of $99.99. They state the shipping date as 'by 27 May' but they have already sold out of the first batch of pre-orders! 

For those of us in many other countries Expansys are taking pre-orders too (as well as in the US). In the UK the price is listed as £66.99, although we are not sure if that will be the final price. But it gives us an idea of how much we need to save up. Expansys are a bit more woolly about lead times as well.

Don't Forget the Games

Of course, you will need some retro games to go with your Bluetooth controlled iCade and, as announced earlier this month, Atari in partnership with iON, have already released all of their classic Arcade and Console games from yesteryear on the App Store.

You get Pong for free, but that's it. If you want to play any other games from Atari's back catalogue you will need to purchase Game packs in-app, but for only $0.99 (59p) for 4 games that's not too bad really.

If you want to go for the full retro experience and load your iCade with 100 Atari games (not all classics we have to say), you can get the whole back catalogue for $14.99 (£8.99). TouchArcade did a nice review with video when the announcement was made.

Some reviews have been a bit critical of the games, but we think they are either too young to remember pumping coin after coin into the original arcade games or just expecting too much of games made in an age before handheld computing devices with onboard graphics processors.

For our part, we have our rose-tinted specs strapped firmly to our heads and we cannot wait to see one of these mini arcade cabinets loaded up with Atari goodness.

If you are pre-ordering your own iCade or have something to say about it or Atari's app, let us know in the comments.

Geek Dreams Do Come True

Everyone is talking about this but we had to share the news from CES about the iCade. Back in April we bemoaned the fact that ThinkGeek's iCade games cabinet for iPad was only an April Fool's joke.

At the time we, like many others, dreamed of how cool it would be if it was a real dock that turned your iPad into a mini arcade cabinet. We even suggested in that post a few ways this could be done for real using MAME.

Now, ThinkGeek has partnered with ION to make a real cabinet/controller to make your arcade retro gaming dreams come true. Rather than using the dock connector though, the iCade is a Bluetooth controller for compatible games, of which we imagine there will be quite a few in the future, but for now they have set up a partnership with Atari and their fantastic arcade game back catalogue.

The iCade doesn't look quite the same as the original mockup, but it does still look great, and the cabinet includes speakers which theoretically can be used for any media, meaning the iCade could double up as a dock for playing back any of your media.

At $99 we think the price is a little steep, but we are sure they will sell a load of them to sad geeks like us who constantly hark back to the days of wireframe graphics and relatively simplistic gameplay. Check out the iCade in action at CES in the Wired video below and be sure to let us know in the comments if you will be queuing up for an iCade in the Spring.